I recounted the following story after I found out my grandmother died a little over a week after last Thanksgiving:
Though I have had many beautiful conversations with my grandmother, I will always cherish the last one. My grandmother has never been able to understand my activism and progressive ministry. While I was at home for Thanksgiving, my grandmother brought up “the gays” (in her words). I asked her, “Have you ever been attracted to a woman before?” My question was simply too much for her. Though my grandmother was known her whole life for her ability to talk loudly and consistently, the question left her speechless and astonished. After a little back and forth, I backed off the question. The next day, we were about to leave to drive back to Texas. I had just loaded our kids into the car and was ready to go. Before I hit the gas, I thought to run inside her house next door and see my grandmother. When I knocked on the door, she opened it and said, “I was hoping you would stop and see me one last time before you left.” I walked in and told her just how much I loved her. I prodded her to let me take a picture before I left. Leaning in, I gave her a soft kiss on the forehead and snapped a selfie. Though the picture was special, the interaction grew divine based on the last words she ever spoke to me, “I thought about our conversation, I want you to know that I am very proud of you and love is going to be what sees us all through.” Though I will miss her with all my heart, I believe her last words to me. Even in the face of death, I know that our love remains and will sustain us both until we meet again.
These words cycle in my head often. One year later, I am thankful that at 89 my grandmother was still open to be moved and transformed. While there is no question that she was a racist, homophobe and many other things until the day she died, God was still moving in her life and I have no question that the God who began a good work in her was faithful until such work was complete. I pray that there will be many conversations around dinner tables today like the one I had with my grandmother. I pray that God will continue to transform hearts and our world. In the midst of all the hate that is going round, I’m not worried anymore…for I know that the author and perfecter of all that is will be faithful until the work is complete.